Gregg Williams, Jamal Adams
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New York Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams thinks Jamal Adams may find himself “bored” in Seattle’s defense.

Robby Sabo

Shots fired, perhaps? If any New York Jets coach would fire away, it would be this guy.

Gregg Williams was very complimentary of his former strong safety, Jamal Adams, on a Thursday Zoom meeting with the Jets beat. Interestingly, he also could not help but let the truth-telling thoughts fly.

“Jamal might get bored over there,” Williams said when thinking about the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive scheme as opposed to his.


Adams, 24, was shipped to the Seattle Seahawks, along with a 2022 fourth-round draft pick, in exchange for strong safety Bradley McDougald, a pair of first-round picks (2021, 2022) and a 2021 third-rounder.

He joins a defensive system coordinated by Ken Norton Jr., whose system has continued most of the same Cover 3 principles that exploded when the Legion of Boom ran wild in the defensive backfield. In this system, Adams can continue his roaming style while plugging up run-support holes in the box.

At the same time, the scheme is quite vanilla compared to Williams’ style. Adams should find himself in far fewer elaborate pass-rush schemes than he experienced in 2019 under the three-decade NFL defensive mind.

Williams labeled the Jets’ defensive situation as a more “sophisticated system” than Seattle’s but also believes the strong safety swap does not change much strategically.

“It really doesn’t (change) because we’re very multiple in how we do those things anyway,” Williams said. “Jamal may get bored there because they don’t use their safety-type things, all the different complexities of maybe not showing what they’re doing as much as we do.

“We’ll do, still, the same patterns of things. We’ll still do a lot of the same exact things. But we’ll highlight the people we have here. And as you saw, what we did there was he had maybe his most productive year here because of how we highlighted the skill sets that he’s had—and I had a lot of really, really good guys at that position. Over the years, had a lot of really, really good safeties to be able to build things around. Now it’s next man up. We’ll fill the mandate here and we’ve got some good skill levels here that we can capitalize on.”

Williams also mentioned Brian Poole as a major factor in this equation. Remember, Poole has strong safety experience in the NFL—a spot he played in Atlanta when the Falcons were struggling with safety injuries.

From a rigid Adams-low, Marcus Maye-high situation, Williams can move to a more fluid three-defensive back look in the interior of the defensive backfield. All three guys can interchange spots, especially thanks to McDougald’s excellent man-coverage abilities as a safety.

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“He’s very, very good,” Williams said about his new strong safety. “I love those kinds of guys who have had to prove themselves. Undrafted, a guy who carries himself with a healthy chip on his shoulder.”

For a grizzled football-lifer like Gregg Williams, it always comes down to hard work. McDougald fits that mold.

“He works extremely hard,” Williams said. “And the thing that makes it or breaks it for you at this level is that you’re not afraid to work when nobody else is looking, and you’re not afraid to push yourself even harder when nobody else is looking—when you think nobody else is evaluating.”

The man replacing McDougald in the Great Northwest will now play within a tamer defense that does not feature the extra sprinkles on a finely-baked cake. There’s no question he’ll perform just fine; but how often will he rush the passer and roam freely?


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